Commitment to the Lord's Way
COMMITMENT TO THE LORD’S WAY
by John and Beth Reese
Follow the Lord’s way. You may not realize its significance right now. Just trust that His wisdom is greater than yours. He has good reasons for attendance with the church, for worship together, for balancing work and fun, for confession, for emphasis on the positive, etc. As examples of the Lord’s way, consider…
A. Consistency -(Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
v Parents are responsible to build habits that say, “These are our priorities! This is who we are!” e.g. memory Scriptures placed around the house, family devotionals, Bible reading at meal, discuss meanings of Bible stories, prayers, spiritual discussions, songs, etc.
v Help your child to develop dependence on God and not on the things of the world. It is certainly okay to have ‘things’ but the child needs to be able to know what is important in life.
v Home is where faith – or lack of it – is most evident. Be a walk about – talk about model (Faulkner, Raising Faithful Kids in a Fast-Paced World, 1995).
v Develop meaningful rituals that show appreciation. Maintaining rituals of love (family devotionals, mealtime, and bedtime) at the end of the day help the busy family to remember to take time for each other.
v Establish family holidays and traditions.
v Choose carefully what you watch on television and at the movie theaters, then critique it from the viewpoint of values.
v Good Christian music can reinforce positive messages.
v Encourage helpful, not harmful, friendships.
B. Community -Notice how church attendance relates to faithfulness—unswerving hope—and mutual encouragement (Hebrews 10:23-25).
v Make your worship time with the local congregation a positive experience. Discuss what the children learned on the way home. Be careful to make discussions productive and positive, not negative.
v Let your Christian faith have structure as well as heart. Give your children practical ways to show that the Lord comes first. Help young men to participate in leading worship services. Help young women to teach class.
v The local congregation is available for help. Most elders or ministers and their wives are capable of spiritual counseling. There are many other mature Christians that are also willing to help others. Often they do not volunteer because they feel like they are “interfering” but they want to help when asked.
v Make attendance at worship, classes, small groups such a habit that no one questions whether it will happen or not.
C. Confession - (James 5:16).
v When a parent turns out to be in the wrong (even in being too hard on each other or on the children) lead the way in confessing and apologizing. This teaches that God’s rule applies to adults as well as children, and that all alike submit to God’s way.
v Help your growing teen learn to think through how to overcome wrongs. Help him to learn how to confess and change. Help him to learn to help other people grow in their spiritual lives.
v Encourage and, when appropriate, reward openness and honesty in children.
v Do not tolerate deliberate dishonesty, cheating, blaming others, etc.
v Children often choose their own time for deeper discussion topics and confessions, so parents should be attentive for signals and be ready at any time.
D. Consideration - (Luke 6:31).
v The Golden Rule is basic to all good relationships. Think constantly of how to apply it.
v If you would not want people to gossip about you or criticize you, then don’t malign others, especially as a home routine. Even in difficult congregational circumstances, be careful not to give the church a bad image.
v Keep laughter in the family but never let it be to embarrass or cut one another down.
v Teach your children from a young age to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please.’
v Accept expressions of appreciation gracefully.
v The wife needs to be included in spiritual discussions. Discussions also help to stimulate her and keep her active spiritually, even when she is in the years of caring for little children.
v Treat other people (waiter, salesman, any ‘service’ oriented business people) with kindness and gentleness.
v Sibling rivalry is normal, but set limits. e.g. no hitting, no insulting names, you can talk about what the other kid did, but not characterize what he/she is.
E. Correction & Balance - (Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Ecclesiastes 7:16).
v Preachers and elders should let all Scriptures speak to them. That means, listen to instructions about fathering as well as instructions about evangelism and shepherding.
v Listening to “every word” leads to a balanced life-style, which is constantly self-corrected as your Bible reading shows you how to adjust, what you are forgetting, what you are over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing. Living is like steering.
v Some jobs can be very demanding and stress inducing. Some people try to take on many extra jobs in the church and the community. With maturity, they can realize that they cannot do everything.
v Expose yourself to good Christian examples of faith as often as is possible. Watch how they balance their lives.
v Encourage each other in creative hobbies and sports.